Hello, and welcome to “Three Minutes of Gardening and 30 Seconds of Heavy Drinking.” I’m your host, Garland Faunt-Lubberly.
As I gaze out the window of my humble cottage onto the fields filled with snow and the occasional corpse of UPS delivery persons, I feel as I did when Lady Bechamel subjected me to a spirited application of leeches to acclimatize me for my impending trip to Oshawa (as one does), namely the need to exclaim on the very threshold of agony: “When will it end!!!”
Indeed, it is hard for garden lovers to even imagine that the ground will ever be unencumbered by snow and unclaimed Amazon packages in time for spring planting. But at times like these, I try to recall the words of Triscuit, my third-best nanny. “Garland,” Triscuit would say, “You cannot do what you have not, so you must do what you have.” It took me incredibly long to determine precisely what she was on about, her inscrutability being chief among the reasons she was merely my third-best nanny, that and the raw fish she ritually rubbed on her neck each morning to ward off beaver attacks. (It worked!)
But unraveling her haddock-scented aphorisms took such considerable time that whatever I had been waiting for – Christmas pudding, the return of uncle’s mechanical arm from the shop, the hiring of a second-best nanny – would arrive anon. And so must we, my gardening peculiarists, hasten the disappearance of snow by staying busy with spring planting tasks. The heavy drinking certainly assists, but more on that, likewise, anon.
Now, for example, is the time for ordering your seeds, particularly if you propose planting from scratch, as opposed to loading up on seedlings at the local nursery in the dead of night, undermining the security fence thanks to your uncanny burrowing skills.
Selecting your seeds allows you to make your garden truly your own. I, for example, delight in heirloom tomatoes that have not been made bland and homogenous through strenuous cross-breeding but have remained true to their genetic roots, as it were, even if this means misshapen fruit, much like the misshapen heads of Lady Bechamel’s offspring, a number of whom run important foundations and demonstrate the occasional competency, so fear not!
Once your seeds are selected, it is time to prepare your containers. These may be egg cartons, paper cups, abandoned eye-wash stations or microfilm canisters from your days with MI6 (Civil Pleasantries Division). Be sure to use fresh potting soil and keep your work area tidy. I like to have my house boy Vivian put down ample sheets of Kraft paper. Sometimes I wrap Vivian in Kraft paper as well just for a giggle. Oh, how Vivian delights in my little tomfooleries! My big tomfooleries as well!
Set your seedlings in a warm, well-lit room, even if that means relocating Vivian from his southern-exposure boudoir into the Kraft paper supply closet six to eight weeks before the last frost.
Ahhh, and there’s the rub (as my tennis partner Felicity said when I enquired about where she hid the ointment); for the timing to be right, we still must know when the snow will be gone and the earth ready for our delicate plants. I wish I could tell you that, but alas I am not a clairvoyant, not even a clairvoyeur, the epithet preferred by my dear uncle for his ability to not only commune with spirits but to peek through their windows. This, of course, triggered the #MeBoo movement, a non-gardening, non-heavy-drinking subject for another day.
But what of that heavy drinking? I know I’ve earned it, especially to numb the effects of this long winter and the leech-related bruising. So let us opt for something seasonal, shall we?
The Sugar Drip. Position a hammock or your MI6-issued cot between two sturdy maples in the grove of your choice. Using a sling or a lacey undergarment from amongst your souvenirs, hang a bottle of your preferred alcohol from the trunk slightly above your head and allow the sweet, cell-destroying liquor to drip languidly into your mouth as you ignore the dregs of winter and the plaintive whimperings of sweet Vivian in the supply closet.
Happy gardening and heavy drinking!
To hear previous episodes of “Three Minutes of Gardening and 30 Seconds of Heavy Drinking,” visit soundcloud.com/ross-murray-7.